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One of the most modest of men

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British composer LEONARD SALZEDO died on 6 May

 

Leonard Salzedo, the most Spanish of British composers, died on 6 May at home in England. Known for his distinctive ballet music, all of Salzedo's music is bright with rhythm and full of movement.

Born in London on 24 September 1921, Salzedo was of Spanish/Jewish descent, and it was apparent early that he was destined for a career in music. He studied violin from age 6, began to write music at 12, and his wartime studies at the Royal College of Music (including composition with Herbert Howells, orchestration with Gordon Jacob and conducting with George Dyson) attracted several prizes.

Salzedo's first ballet, The Fugitive, was commissioned by Dame Marie Rambert whilst the composer was a student, and the work was to remain in the repertoire of the Ballet Rambert for six years, receiving more than 400 performances. The most successful Salzedo ballet has been The Witch Boy (first performance 1956, Ballet der Lage Landen, Amsterdam), achieving thousands of performances and a lasting position in contemporary repertoires worldwide. [Listen - The Dance of the Witch Boy.]

Oboe d'Amore expert Jennifer Paull, who publishes and has recorded some of Salzedo's works, remembers Salzedo as one of the most modest of men, commenting 'He listened to me many years ago when I was struggling to create a repertoire and wrote me some of his most wonderful compositions, six in all. I will forever be in his debt. British music has lost one of its most original voices.' [Listen - Cantiga Mozárabe.]

Leonard Salzedo, 1921-2000
Leonard Salzedo, 1921-2000

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